Bill Emmott (Continuación)

Desde que estalló la crisis económica de Europa hace más de cuatro años, los políticos y los analistas han reclamado una gran solución, invocando muchas veces el ejemplo del Plan Marshall de postguerra de Estados Unidos que, desde su inicio en 1948, ayudó a reconstruir las economías destruidas y oprimidas por la deuda de Europa Occidental. Pero el momento político nunca llegó a madurar. Eso podría estar a punto de cambiar.

La situación de Europa hoy tiene algunas similitudes con los años 1940. Agobiados por deudas públicas que son consecuencia de errores pasados, los gobiernos de la eurozona saben lo que tienen que hacer pero no cómo hacerlo.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Odian los votantes británicos a los extranjeros, o solo a los aprovechados? Esa es la pregunta que planteó el primer ministro británico, David Cameron, en su tan esperado discurso sobre la inmigración a otros países miembros de la Unión Europea, pronunciado el mes pasado en las oficinas generales del fabricante de equipo pesado para la construcción, JCB.

La apuesta de Cameron es que a los votantes no les importa si los polacos o lituanos operan las máquinas JCB en obras de construcción por todo Reino Unido. Lo que afecta a los británicos son los inmigrantes que llegan a Reino Unido a aprovecharse de las ayudas sociales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Once again the euro has been saved, but the eurozone continues to stumble towards disaster. The distinction matters, even if European finance ministers emerged from their late-night negotiations talking proudly of having kept Cyprus inside the euro and – though they didn’t say this explicitly of course – of having stiffed Russian fatcats. For while southern European debtors are the problem for the euro, it is northern European creditors who are the problem for the eurozone.

In technical terms, the ministers have reason to be pleased. With the Cyprus deal, they have achieved two things. They have proved that member countries will do almost anything to stay inside the single currency, rather than suffer the ignominy and economic cardiac arrest that an exit would bring.…  Seguir leyendo »

Can there ever have been an American president who has been prejudged, judged and then rejudged as soon and as relentlessly as has Barack Obama? Certainly not George W. Bush in 2001, for whom expectations were low — at least until 9/11 changed everything. Arguably not Bill Clinton in 1993 either, though he did begin with a whirlwind of pledges and initiatives, before being slowed down by the onrush of the Whitewater scandal in his first autumn. Even dear old Ronald Reagan in 1981 was assumed to have proclaimed that it was “morning in America” because he liked a snooze in the afternoon.…  Seguir leyendo »

An economic crisis that began as a drama, or even a tragedy, is descending into farce. It is bad enough at home, what with Labour and the Tories arguing over whose spending cuts will be the nastiest, when the real issue is what it will mean for Britain to have a budget deficit that might reach 15 per cent of GDP next year. Abroad, however, things are taking an even more absurd turn, with the world’s two supposedly most important countries, America and China, descending into a trade row about Chinese car tyres and American chickens.

Moreover, we are entering a packed season of international summitry, with the G20 countries meeting in Pittsburgh this week to put the world to rights in a trendily broad and inclusive way, just ahead of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Istanbul.…  Seguir leyendo »

Gavyn Davies: Quit stalling on capital reform

Although banks often get carried away by a reckless search for short-term profits, they are not stupid enough to ignore the near-death experience of September 2008. The best hope for reform is that the large institutions see it as being in their own interest to rein in risk. However, in case memories are indeed short, governments need to agree on a system in which the capital requirements imposed on the banks are increased as lending and asset prices rise during the next boom. This is a much better way of preventing excessive risk-taking than political grandstanding on pay, (which is annoying but not the core of the problem) or the FSA idea of a Tobin tax on all financial market trading (which hits the wrong targets).…  Seguir leyendo »

A Victorian historian said that Britain “conquered… half the world in a fit of absence of mind”.

Chinese Communist Party leaders are not normally associated with absentmindedness, but rather with cool, calculated, long-term strategic thinking. Yet China might well now be building a mixture of influence and obligation – the modern version of an empire- in quite a British way, and one that promises to cause increasing tension with its giant neighbour and regional rival, India.

Events in Sri Lanka, as that nation finally brings an end to a quarter-century-long civil war, are the latest example of China’s growing overseas reach.…  Seguir leyendo »

In n the race to report the worst economic contraction among rich countries this year, Britain is being run close by another island nation: Japan, the world’s second biggest economy. Japan is, however, winning the contest for the country with the most shambolic politics – this week its finance minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, resigned after turning up drunk to a press conference after the G7 summit in Rome last weekend. Nevertheless, Japan stands a good chance of being one of the few countries to benefit from the economic crisis.

Many Japanese would find that hard to believe. Unemployment is rising sharply; the big, famous Japanese names such as Toyota, Panasonic and Sony are all making losses; exports are plummeting; and manufacturing output has dropped to a level last seen in 1983.…  Seguir leyendo »

Less than a month ago, unnamed U.S. officials hit the front page of the Financial Times by indicating that the U.S.-India nuclear pact was «almost certainly dead.» This past weekend the corpse suddenly twitched back to life, thanks to sharp political maneuvering by India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and his Congress Party. Now, the deal will almost certainly be signed by India’s government — putting the onus back on the United States to get it implemented.

For that to happen, Congress must stop trying to use the deal as leverage to force India to back the U.S. line on Iran. And the Bush administration, as well as Sens.…  Seguir leyendo »

You have to admit the man has talent. Silvio Berlusconi’s triumph in Italy’s general election, to win a third spell as prime minister – at the age of 71 and less than two years after his defeated five-year government had left Italy as the slowest growing economy of western Europe – is quite remarkable. It is testimony to his resilience but also to a campaign full of jokes and provocations. His victory should, however, be deeply troubling for anyone who cares about democracy.

For in addition to his undoubted personal appeal, Berlusconi had some powerful advantages. He is Italy’s richest man by far, enjoying a near monopoly of commercial television, a big publishing empire, and lots of other interests.…  Seguir leyendo »

The collapse and fire sale of Bear Stearns, the fifth-largest US investment bank, may seem bad news, but it is actually good. The excesses of Wall Street firms in recent years were so egregious that a shake-out simply had to happen. Since the credit crunch became manifest last August, we have in effect been waiting to see some blood spattering on to those broad investment-banking braces. It would have been a travesty – and rather surreal – if we had had to wait much longer.

Whenever financial crises have occurred – such as in Britain in the early 1970s, America in the late 1980s or Japan in the early 1990s – the vital moment has been the one when reality strikes home.…  Seguir leyendo »